Participating in the IAAPA attractions Expo four-day event in Orlando, Florida is always an incredible experience. We get to showcase our newest products and solutions, but we also get to speak with industry leaders and learn about the trends and technologies that are shaping the industry. Here’s a quick re-cap of our 7 key takeaways from the IAAPA attractions Expo 2018:

1. Train your staff

There were some excellent points made during the two-part education session “Technology for Increasing Guest Spending at Water Parks”. Mark Bingeman, of Bingemans Grand Experiences in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada outlined the importance of backing your technology with the proper staff training. New tech is often introduced in an effort to reduce labor costs and increase guest spending; but park staff won’t get the most out of the technology if they don’t know how to use it. Choosing user-friendly tech is important, as is taking the time to do thorough staff training.

“You can have the greatest technology, but if you’re not training and coaching the staff on how to use it, you’ll never get the full value, Bingeman shared.”

2. Connect with consumers

The data retrieved when using cashless solutions at an amusement park is extremely valuable. Park owners can benefit from the opportunity to learn about guest preferences and spending habits. New technologies allow for consumer profiles to be created and saved within the park’s system – providing upsell opportunities and a more personalized experience for the guest. Social media also allows park owners to know exactly how guests feel about their experience. As outlined by Kim Mika, a regional sales manager with the social media management system, Sprinklr, it’s important to respond to guests’ issues as quickly as possible because negative reviews travel fast online.

“Attractions need to respond quickly to complaints—often within five minutes—and turn a bad experience into a good one…”   – Kim Mika

3. The VR & AR boom

While virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are not new technologies, it has become apparent that they are poised to make a big splash in the amusement park industry. Consumers have come to expect an element of these technologies to be incorporated into traditional rides. Backed by heavyweights such as Apple and Disney, it is clear that AR in particular, is set to be a major part of new park innovations.

“There are a host of ways that AR can be used to enhance learning, create connections between visitors and animals, and even increase revenue through donations and sales,” – Guru.

4. Interactivity is Key

More people want to take an active role in the experience they have at an attraction. New technologies are being used to allow consumers to customize their experience on rides. From app integration to facial recognition software, park owners are making efforts to better understand how their guests experience the rides, and allow guests to make choices that will customize their experience.

“We have to keep raising the bar to keep allowing our guests to live these great dreams for real and to place them into some of their most beloved stories,” – Thierry Coup, Senior Vice President of Universal Creative.

5. Bots and AI are moving in

A number of parks are using bots and AI (artificial intelligence) to replace human beings in general labor roles. As the technology becomes more sophisticated, people are finding the interaction with bots is now more natural than ever, and can add a fun element to their experience. Park owners are interested in the financial benefits of using robots, as well as the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of a new technology.

“Bots could have a future in managing the infrastructure of attractions and reducing labour costs.” – Blooloop feature

6. A mix of old and new

While there are lots of new technologies available in the industry, many amusement parks offer a blend of traditional rides and new tech. Triotech, a Montreal-based leader in the creation of immersive and interactive media-based attractions, developed The Typhoon – one of the first coin-op simulators to offer a shared experience with two side-by-side seats. The ride combines the traditions of coin-op gaming with new technology; proving that there is value in maintaining the traditional charm of old school rides while updating them with new technological features.

“This product continues to be on the top of the chart for earnings. It has become a reference in the industry for coin-op simulator rides.” – Gabi Salabi, Chief Commercial Officer of Triotech

7. Untapped potential of RFID

There are many exciting technologies being introduced into the amusement park industry every day, but there is still a noticeable untapped potential when it comes to RFID technology. Often deployed for ticketing and access control at mid-sized amusement parks, RFID can offer many other exciting features as well. Our Parkpass has been developed especially for parks and provides features that are beneficial for both guests and park owners. From allergy alerts and child-parent pairing to mobile ordering and loyalty program rewards, RFID can be used to provide the ultimate frictionless park experience.

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